Ever since I have been bitten by the travel bug, Australia has been amongst the top 3 travel destinations in my bucket list. And this love has only grown after religiously watching Masterchef Australia (every season) and the latest “visit Australia” ads. But since I am a budget traveler stuck in debt, this visit had to be put on a back burner till I had my finances sorted. Hence imagine my happiness when I saw that Indiblogger (www.indiblogger.in) and Tourism Victoria have come up with the ‘…it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!’ contest. I have been on cloud 9 ever since trying to short list on what are the exact experiences that I want to bring back from a visit to this city that has something for everyone.
Melbourne is a city that I think can be best described as young, vibrant, chic and sophisticated with a few hidden aces up its sleeves. It is a city that has something for everyone – families, solo travelers (even women), couples, friends, etc with a chance to live all kinds of lives – you could be a foodie, a cultural enthusiast, an ardent sports fan, a nature lover, a shopper etc etc. No matter what you want to be, this city gives you an ample opportunity and company to be just that…
So I finally decided that for Melbourne I will leave the “ACTUAL ME” behind in India and live a “NEW ME” for each of the 7 days there. So I went through all possible websites that provided loads of information but picked a lot of information and all pictures from http://www.visitmelbourne.com/in.
So my seven must live lives / experiences for Melbourne are –
1. “The Artist” – I will live a day as an artist in Melbourne and visit the world-famous street art and explore this street art culture and associated sub-cultures. I am especially interested in the stencils, murals and paste-ups here and will take a street art tour to understand it all. Melbourne also has some great galleries and museums and I’ll spend some time in at least two of these. My short-listed galleries are – ACMI Moving Image gallery at Federation Square, Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square, The National Gallery of Victoria International and the Melbourne Museum. Best of all, the first two are free.
2. “The Foodie and Coffee Addict” – Melbourne is a treat for your taste buds and a holiday for your diet chart. You can eat anything you want to your heart’s content. They have everything – from all kinds of ingredients, cuisines, locations to all kinds of drinking and dining experiences. The foodie in me wants to explore all the dining and bar lanes in this city especially Queen Victoria Market (for the fresh produce), Lygon Street, Degraves Street, St Kilda, Richmond, Fitzroy Street, Victoria Street, etc etc. Also, I have heard that Melbourne has the best brew of coffee in Australia, so the die-hard coffee fan in me has to check all of those out and pick the personal favourites. I already have my list of all coffee shops ready too. 🙂
3. “The Nature Buff” – Melbourne has some of the most beautiful and world-famous parks, gardens and beaches, and I would like to visit some of these for a relaxed and laid back holiday with the local trees, flowers and a nap by the pristine blue water. I also want to visit the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park to meet the local animals such as kangaroos, koalas and wallabies. If possible, I would like to include a trip to the picturesque Yarra Valley and the Dandenong ranges.
4. “The Compulsive Shopper” – I love shopping for all kinds of things – from clothes, shoes, cosmetics, accessories to books, crafty stuff, knick-knacks, fresh produce, etc etc. So in Melbourne I want to shop till I drop for a little of everything.
5. “Outdoor Sports Enthusiast” – Melbourne provides numerous options in terms of adventure sports like Rock Climbing, Abseiling, Caving, Sky Diving, Hand Gliding, Ballooning and Scenic Flights and water sports like surfing, scuba diving, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing, boating and sailing. But amongst all these options I really want to try – Caving, Sky Diving, Ballooning, Scuba diving, canoeing and kayaking.
6. “A Sports Fan” – I have heard that Australians love their sport and hence when in Melbourne, a visit to a game at the Melbourne Cricket ground is a must. So my plan is to visit one local game, grab any colored scarf and then just start cheering for that team. I also want to scream, cheer, chat with other fans all around and generally enjoy the junk food. I have heard it’s also a place to meet some interesting local people.
7. “The Historian” – And last but not the least, I want to dwell into the city’s rich history and historical buildings spread all across via the city’s amazing tram network. I plan to see the Bulla Hill Railway, Como House and Garden, Flemington Heritage Centre, Flinder’s Street Station, Monsalvat, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Werribbe Mansion, to just name a few.
While I know that my list seems very ambitious, but visiting Melbourne is a once in a lifetime dream come true and I want to truly live every second of this dream 🙂